TANKA for November 29th, 2008

I love tanka, no secret here. I find this ancient Japanese form of poetry to be an intensely personal form and expressive of things that can’t be said in ordinary sentences. I have been writing tanka for a year now, and find I am just scratching the surface of its potential.

I came across this line: “She has mounted my soul” in Japanese..or a translation from the Japanese. It means that ‘she’ has completely taken over me, she has captured my heart…something in that vein. But what a powerful sentence. I had to weave it into a tanka, in fact, to me, the soul is intangible…so in ‘mounting’ the soul (and clinging with strong legs…) ‘she’ makes solid that which is intangible.

This is just one reason I love tanka because it is so….multi-faceted.

Lady Nyo



This grim November,
The month of my father’s death.
Always bittersweet.
My memories float, weak ghosts,
Hauntings in the fog of life.


A mind that obeys
And becomes one with nature
Sees through four seasons
Embellished with life forces,
And completes a discipline.


When nature is known
Reason for awe can be found
In familiar sights.
Intimacy at the core—
Astounding revelation!


The full moon above
Floats on blackened velvet seas,
Poet’s perfection!
But who does not yearn for a
Crescent in lavender sky?


Birds fly in the blue.
All is gray upon the earth,
Heart stopped with sorrow.
White cranes lifts off calm waters,
My heart tries to follow them.


In this single branch
Of a wintry holly,
A hundred words hide.
A thousand blushes appear.
Do not overlook the thorns.


Lithe-bodied, she climbs-
She has now mounted my soul!
Clinging with strong legs
Her breasts pressed against me,
Shaping an intangible thing.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008

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2 Responses to “TANKA for November 29th, 2008”

  1. R.K.Singh Says:

    Hi, I liked your tanka very much. In a year’s time you seem to have acquired the skill very few poets can boast of. My greetings to you.
    May I share with you one of my tanka:

    Awaiting the wave
    that’ll wash away empty hours
    and endless longing
    in this dead silence at sea
    I pull down chunks of sky



  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hello, and welcome!

    Thank you very much. I love the tanka form too much and spend hours counting syllables on my fingers….lol.

    Oh! your tanka is beautiful, heartfelt and exactly to me what tanka is supposed to do: evoke the intangible in heartfelt proportions.

    Thank you very much for writing and sending this lovely tanka.

    I will keep this as a gift.

    Lady Nyo


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